I Had the Missing Puzzle Piece . . .

In April 2010, I received an e-mail from a patron asking for help with his family history. This was nothing unusual since I receive many such requests as a research consultant in the Family History Library. He had some documents from Hungary with his grandfather’s place of origin and he knew the locality name, but could not find it anywhere on the map. Again, nothing unusual. This time, however, something unexpected happened as soon as I saw the locality name. Even without the country of origin, I knew instinctively what it was! I thought to myself, it cannot be! The village I was thinking about was just a small village in northern Moravia, Czech Republic where some of my husband’s ancestors are from.

The locality name appeared as Hossalkovitz on one document and as Haschiolkowitzi on the other. I checked various gazetteers and considered various spellings, but I still felt that the birthplace of the patron’s grandfather was indeed Hošťálkovice (also known as Hoschzalkowicz, Hostialkowitz, Hoschtialkowitz). This region was actually Austrian Silesia, belonging at times to Upper Silesia, part of the Prussian (German) Empire.

This particular locality’s records are under the jurisdiction of the Opava Land Archive which operates digital online archives. At this point I normally would have referred the patron to the online records so that he could start researching the birth of his grandfather in 1869. When searching for records from Hošťálkovice, he would have found the 1860-1891 birth register from the nearby Hlučín parish. This birth register, however, would not include Hošťálkovice births after the 1860s. The patron, unable to find his grandfather’s birth in it, would probably have given up at this point, assuming that he was researching the wrong parish.

Because my husband’s ancestors come from Hošťálkovice, I had some additional information about the records to share with this patron. Hošťálkovice births do not appear in the Hlučín register after the 1860s because a separate birth register for Hošťálkovice began to be kept around that time. The original register does not exist anymore, but a duplicate register exists and can be sent to the archive per request from the offsite storage during a personal visit. This is unpublished information, known to very few.

Because I was planning on researching in that same register during my visit to the archive a few months later, I volunteered to check the register for this patron. I felt that it was important to establish his grandfather’s birth in Hošťálkovice so that he could then continue additional research, either through contacting the archive or hiring a researcher. A few months later upon my visit to the archive, I did indeed find the birth record of his grandfather in the duplicate register. What are the odds that the patron would contact me—the one with the missing puzzle piece?

Comments (13)

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  1. Am trying to find where he lved when in the united States

    Kalman Magdich 11 August 2011
    12:11 pm
  2. Please post your research questions to Forums at https//www.familysearch.org/learn/forums/en/

    SP 08 August 2011
    2:41 pm
  3. ian trying to find ancestry of victor zawacki from poland russia born in 1914 married to mary b???? any ideas?

    victoria zawacki 21 July 2011
    9:10 pm
  4. Great story - can you help find my GGF? He was born in Prussia in 1850, immigrated from Germany in 1870/1? I know a little about his life here, but would like to know all about my Prussians.

    Marilyn Bove 13 July 2011
    5:26 pm
  5. My Grandfather was born in (as far as I can tell) Boharevycja, Kis Falucska. was this Hungary, Slovakia or the Ukraine? The surname has under gone many changes and the countries have been so divided...I have come to an end in my search for now. Does anyone know if this place sounds familiar? Thank you.

    Bernice 08 July 2011
    1:42 pm
  6. I really want to know more about my ancestry

    shawn thomas walker 16 June 2011
    6:28 am
  7. To KL, sorry it is not Hossil Germany. Thanks everybody for your comments

    09 June 2011
    6:10 pm
  8. It is wonderful when one can find that missing peice of the puzzle mine just vanished into the hills will never to be found

    D Plaizier 08 June 2011
    10:52 pm
  9. It happened for me today Thank you Bob wherever you are I never thought a church could hide...but Lucinda Church was finally found. I thought she was lost, but she was just hiding.

    E. Simon 08 June 2011
    6:04 pm
  10. Would Hossalkovitz also have been know at Hossil Germany? I have been trying to find my great grandparents for years to learn names dates ect. I have a few small peices of information.

    KL 08 June 2011
    3:55 pm
  11. Thanks for sharing. I had a similar experience recently. A couple of weeks ago I was bored so, I went to one of the pay sites and was looking at the message boards. I actually found a note posted from a woman wanting information on my great grandmothers family. She had posted the note in 2001. I filled in all the blanks of her family tree that she had been researching for 39 years. She had no idea that my great grandmother had been married several times through out her life. It gave me such a wonderful feeling to be able to help this woman. I hope she was as thrilled with the information as I was being able to help her. Thanks again for sharing.

    J. Bristow 07 June 2011
    9:49 pm
  12. That was NOT a coincidence. Thanks for sharing. Beautiful

    J. Malone 06 June 2011
    6:08 pm
  13. We see these miracles so often. It is no wonder when the work of finding our ancestors is so important. Still it always is a thrill when something like this happens Thanks for sharing your story. I found it encouraging to remind me to keep trying even when it seems the record I am seeking is not available. Someone may have the answer I need.

    BevWellington 06 June 2011
    4:48 pm

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